5 On Your Side

Good as new: Save by buying these things used

Posted March 18, 2009
Updated September 24, 2009

There are many options for buying used items. Yard sales and used clothing stores are two popular choices for consumers looking to save.

10 things to always buy used 10 things to always buy used

Five on Your Side did the research on secondhand shopping and found 10 things it's best to buy "new to you."

Cars: Experts at Edmunds Inc. estimate new cars lose 20 to 30 percent of their value after one year. A low-mileage, late model, reliable used car gets you more for your money.

Jewelry: If you know what you are looking for, try buying from a trusted pawn shop or an estate or yard sale to avoid the 100 percent markup charged at retail jewelry stores.

Clothes: Secondhand clothes are a simple way to save. Consider buying used clothes that have a short-term, specific need, such as maternity or baby clothes. Why pay full price for maternity clothes when you only wear them for a few months? Babies grow so quickly that clothes for them are often available gently used.

Label-conscious consumers can find designer clothes for a fraction of the cost at stores like Plato's Closet, which caters to teens. Kids outgrow clothes or styles so quickly that buying used can be a big money-saver.

Toys: Resale shops and yard sales are good sources for games and toys. As families age, they often sell playthings their children have outgrown.

Books: Buy used and sell them back when you finish. Better yet, use the public library.

CDs and DVDs: You can download just about any song you want and then burn it to a CD, saving the price of purchasing the whole thing. Used CDs and DVDs are available for sale in stores and online. Movies can be rented for a fraction of the cost of buying. For those you are sure you'll watch again and again, you can buy used.

Software and games: You can save about half if you wait until a program or game is slightly less than new. When a new version is released, the old version goes on sale.

Sporting equipment: Save money buying used and save guilt if your treadmill becomes a clothes rack. Buying from a store like Play It Again Sports allows you to try out equipment for a fraction of the cost.

Musical instruments: Buying used is a good way to find out if your child has a real interest in an instrument without spending a fortune.

Hand tools: Anything without moving parts can last a long time. Consider buying things like hammers, screwdrivers, rakes or shovels used.

Two things you should never buy used: car seats and bike helmets. Experts say both are only good for one crash. After that, the protection they provide is uncertain. And when you buy used, there's no way to tell what they've been through.


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  • clemsonalltheway Mar 20, 2009

    Never underestimate the $ you can same in a consignment shop. My dtr and I found jeans (A&Fitch) in a shop for $12! We bought every pair they had that would fit! I have a really hard time coming off 100 bucks for a pair of jeans - but for less than $20 - who could walk away from that?

  • Angry Independent Mar 20, 2009

    I'm not so sure the traditional wisdom of buying a used car applies in these times. Detroit is practically giving new cars away to stay alive.

  • ncchrisncchris Mar 20, 2009

    For those that shop for used kids clothing and other kids items, the big kids consignment sale is this weekend at the NC State Fairgrounds in Raleigh...

  • ArmyGF Mar 19, 2009

    I recently purchased a new 2008 Mazda 6 for about $3,000 less than the used 2008 Mazda 6 they had for sale. I wouldn't rule out new cars completely since car dealers want to get rid of the new cars quicker than the used cars.

  • Cleanup on Aisle Cool Mar 19, 2009

    NCweddingdj -
    You could also try audiobooks. A large print "War and Peace" or "Atlas Shrugged" might hurt your back! Or, you could switch to reading Hemmingway. Heck, I'd recommend that to everyone.

  • ncweddingdj Mar 19, 2009

    Since I need LARGE PRINT books and love to read and re-read the classics, I also prowl any used book sources I find. Most of my books have come from friends or faily who bought me MOBY DICK or some FAULKNER, etc. When my wheelbarrow is fixed, I am looking for some Russian classics on LARGE PRINT.

  • poorboy Mar 19, 2009

    i just purshased an 09 ford fusion SE for about $1000 more than an used 08 with 12-20 miles

  • ThisIsMyName Mar 19, 2009

    I purchased my new car almost a year ago and got it for the same price that CarMax was selling the exact same car for but with more miles and a couple of less options.

  • CricketGayle Mar 19, 2009

    I don't know what my son would do without hand-me-downs and consignment shops. Occasionally, he'll get new clothes for his birthday and Christmas or if me or my mom finds a REALLY good sale somewhere, but mostly, he gets hand-me-downs from one of my husband's co-workers (nice stuff like Gap, Polo, Tommy Hilfiger , etc.) or consignment shop clothes. Sometimes, you can even find new clothes at the consignment shop. Yes, it's nice to have new clothes, but in today's economy, you've got to be practical and save money where you can.

    I love books. I've started frequenting the public library for me and my son. If it is a book that I really like and know that I'll read over and over again, I'll buy it, but I've cut WAY back on that. I don't mind buying used books, but they have to be in excellent condition.